Private proxies are, like most computer terms, one of the phases one can utter and always have people smile and nod when they say it, letting you know they are clueless, are too afraid to admit it, and are unwilling to reveal this fact by asking what a ‘proxy’ is. In this scenario, you need to refer these people to this site, and find new friends. Even if you try explaining it yourself, after all, they probably won’t understand 90% of the terms you use.
A proxy is sort of like a wing-man at a bar; The buffer between you and that chick you don’t like who’s best friends with the one you do. The proxy keeps things cupid and distracted, while you ask that cute girl for her number. In the real world, this means chatting up the other girl as a distraction; In the only world, you use a proxy.
You see, that other girl, the mean one keeping your friend talking to her friend, is a representation of the internet and those trying to be authoritative on it. This can be the whole of the ‘net, your boss at work, or the college you go to. And for whatever reason, you don’t want just anyone seeing you there. The internet, for those of us aware of how to use it, is no different than walking into a bar in the real world; Everyone can see you, even if you can’t see them, and even if you’re not aware of it. That means that some of the ‘bars’—or websites—that you go to, are probably embarrassing and humiliating. If your co-workers find out about you having to change an order at work on that adult fetish website, the Christmas party this year will be a lot more awkward than usual. But what can you do? You had to fix the order then and there or it wouldn’t ship until next week!
Which is exactly where a proxy comes in.
A proxy is another computer your computer connects to, and then, so to speak, uses that computer to surf the web. The result is the internet sees the second computer–the one you’re connect to the internet through–and not you, the actual user. So your boss will think it was Nancy in accounting who went to jerkatwork, not you!
Proxies are not the end-all of protection; Persons using the internet for illegal purposes, can and will still be caught an arrested. The fact is, even if the authorities track ‘you’ down to find themselves staring at a proxy computer, they can still track you from there. In simpler words, using a proxy does not mean you can commit cyber crime—you can and will be caught. Most sites who see such behavior from their users or visitors will contact the police themselves, or at the very least, work with them to help catch someone who seems to be committing cyber crime, especially those who use their sites to do it.
However, proxies are great for legal-but-unsavory sites. Websites with pop-up ads, cookies, etc. will not be able to store them on your system. This can be really helpful if you mistakenly wander onto a badware site, which uses your internet cache to store a virus on the system.
Really, though, proxies aid greatly with pornography. Many of these sites, while not full of viruses, are full of harsh, imposing advertising campaigns. The scripts and the sheer amount of ads weigh down the site, and in time, slows your system and internet connection; It will even eat away space on your hard drive. People who work tech’ support can tell you this is the main reason most systems are brought in, and eventually replaced because “it’s too slow”. A proxy can extend the life of your system several years.
The way a proxy works, besides letting you connect to sites through it, like a condom, is by hiding your IP address. Your IP address is your computer’s physical address. This series of numbers, to an experienced hacker, is all that’s needed to hack your system in the majority of most cases. This is from a huge variety of factors–from who made your system to the settings you changed on it–and the smallest thing is all it takes to allow someone to access your system and reformat it, erasing everything.
But thanks to a proxy, your address appears differently. A hacker who accesses the proxy’s IP will have the same surprise as the burglar who breaks into an abandoned home; A lot of risky work for absolutely nothing and no hint of where to go.
The private proxy will also let you bypass firewall settings. If you’ve ever really, really wanted to jerk-at-work, a proxy can allow you to access the websites (But does nothing for your judgment.) This can be helpful to college students trying to access social networking sites, and even to younger students to allow them to access gaming sites. The ideas are limitless.